Acts 15:6 The apostles and the elders met together to consider (whether Gentile believers should be required to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses). 7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. 8 And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; 9 and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. 10 Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 11 On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” 12 The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles…
In this passage the apostles in Jerusalem gathered together to decide if Gentiles (non-Jews) should be required to be crcumcised and follow the law of Moses. As I mentioned in this space yesterday, they ultimately decided this was not necessary. Today’s passage helps us understand why they reached this conclusion.
Understand there were some who made compelling arguments as to why Gentiles should keep the Jewish customs mentioned. I’m sure their case was solid, with clear logic supporting their conclusions. But in the end it wasn’t logic that won the day, it was the “fruit”. In other words, what results were actually observed from Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journey in which they DID NOT require Gentiles to observe these Jewish customs? Did those results indicate God’s blessing – or not?
This is important because we Christians tend to argue up, down, and sideways about why something will or will not work. When a change is proposed, some people will predict doom and gloom. Others will promise the moon if we do what they want us to do. The truth is, it’s often hard to predict what will or will not happen as a result of a particular course of action. Sometimes we just have to give it a try and observe the results.
12 The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles…
Despite empassioned arguments from both sides of the discussion, God had the final vote in the matter, which was as it should have been.
Gracious God, you often surprise us with your blessing in unexpected situations. Give us grace to watch for your hand to move among us as a sign of affirmation for our ministry together. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.